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The Adventures of Captain Marvel Serial (1941) 12 Chapters

The Adventures of Captain Marvel is a 1941 twelve-chapter film serial directed by John English and William Witney for Republic Pictures and produced by Hiram S. Brown, Jr.
The serial was adapted from the popular Captain Marvel comic book character then appearing in Fawcett Comics publications such as Whiz Comics and Captain Marvel Adventures.
It starred Tom Tyler in the title role of Captain Marvel and Frank Coghlan Jr. as his alter ego, Billy Batson. Also starring William Benedict, Louise Currie, and Robert Strange.
This serial was Republic Pictures first comic book adaptation (not counting comic strips such as Dick Tracy). Spy Smasher, also based on a Fawcett character, would follow in 1942.

The Adventures of Captain Marvel is the story of the Malcolm archaeological expedition which unearths a hidden tomb containing a powerful ancient relic - the Golden Scorpion. This contraption, in the shape of a giant scorpion, features a series of lenses which, when aligned correctly, create an "atom smashing" ray. In an antechamber young Billy Batson, the team's radio operator and general gopher, encounters the immortal wizard Shazam who grants him the power to change into Captain Marvel. Over the 12 episodes, Captain Marvel endeavors to thwart the attempts of the villainous √ĘScorpion√Ę character to obtain all the lenses and activate the contraption.

While the "transformation" effect of Billy to Captain Marvel and vice-versa (i.e. a cloud of smoke) is very basic, the flying effects - especially for the time - are superb. Every episode ends with the requisite life or death cliff-hanger, which is then neatly (and usually quite cleverly) sidestepped at the start of the next episode!


Reviewer: nevillejack - - April 13, 2014
Subject: memories
Saw this at Saturday morning kids show c1954. Always the last item. Now 72 &stillenjoy it.....nevvy
Reviewer: gwl123 - - March 21, 2011
Subject: Comment From Hyderbadonnet
The Content/ remarks were helpful. From hyderabadonnet dot com(send flowers and gifts to Andhra Pradesh).
Reviewer: Donfield - - March 21, 2011
Subject: Republic goes all out
Top notch production for Republic, with grand work by the studio's stunt team, and impressive miniature work by the Lydecker brothers. Captain Marvel has no second thoughts about turning machine guns on bad guys or throwing them off buildings. Much better than the Republic serials of the post-war era, where they continuously recycled footage. Storyline has the usual large cast of characters full of red herrings to be whittled down to find the chief bad guy.
Reviewer: edwardihughes - - December 25, 2010
Subject: Waited to long to see
I am over 40 and always wanted to see or own this movie. I regret not seeing it much sooner. What better place & way to watch it, on the internet. Thank you. Internet Archive
Reviewer: frontrowkid - - May 23, 2010
Subject: Captain Marvel comes to the screen
For years, National (DC) Comics battled with Fawcett Comics over the fact that Captain Marvel was a copyright infringement on the Superman character. The battle was finally won in 1953 with Fawcett dropping the Captain Marvel character. In 1940, Republic had wanted to do a Superman serial but the character rights were too high. They even had a plot line of a mad scientist who was going to take over the world with a race of mechanical men. This plotline became "Doctor Satan's Robot." Captain Marvel then came to the screen in 1941 with the Lydecker Brother's special effects to have him fly. In 1953, the serial was re-issued as "The Return of Captain Marvel" while the comic book distribution was being dissolved in court.
Reviewer: quigs - - January 13, 2010
Subject: Shazam!!!!!!!!!!!!1
Lots of fun. I notice that Captain Marvel has not a problem in killing the bad guys while superman would be soooooooooooooo reluctant to do so.
Reviewer: billbarstad - - January 13, 2010
Subject: Shazam!
Good and funny first episode where the origin of Captain Marvel is revealed. He's basically Superman, but instead of changing costume, he changes from a different person altogether. His costume gets damages when he's shot, but appears to be self-healing. Betty Wallace, the lone woman, gets to repeat one line, 'Back up, Whitey! Back up!" The episode was better produced and acted than I expected. Hope it keeps up.

The print from which the episode was made was in very good condition, and the transfer was done well, too.
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Short Format Films
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Uploaded by
Jim Thorpe
on 4/13/2014